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Lower positivity rate in House tests



Some 34 out of 2,848 individuals who went through the gold-standard reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test during the second mass testing at the House of Representatives tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza, however, said the number of cases in the legislative Chamber went down by almost two-thirds based on the results of the latest mass testing it conducted on House members and employees from 18 to 27 January this year.

He said the number is equivalent to a positivity rate of only 1.19 percent, which is way below the 5 percent positivity rate recorded during the first mass testing done in the Chamber.

To recall, 98 out of 2,000 House members and employees tested positive for coronavirus during the first mass testing conducted on 10 to 20 November 2020. All 98 positive cases have since recovered from the highly contagious virus.

Mendoza attributed the deadline in coronavirus cases in the House to the effective implementation of its Covid-19 management program using the tried-and-tested “test, trace and treat” approach.
He added that almost all cases in the second mass testing were asymptomatic, similar to the first mass testing.

According to the House official, all those who tested positive were brought to isolation facilities to avoid possible transmission. He said immediate tracing of their close contacts was also conducted to ensure the safety of others.

“Throughout the testing period, we were coordinating closely with our Barangay Health Emergency Response Team and followed DoH (Department of Health) protocols,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza recalled that it was only in November last year when the House, under the leadership of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, conducted its first mass testing since the pandemic started in March of the same year.

From March to early October, no mass testing was done in the House as most members and employees were discouraged from reporting for work.

“After he assumed the speakership last 12 October, Speaker Velasco made sure that those who were eager to work are tested for the virus to ensure their safety while the legislative mill continues to grind,” he said.

Aside from regular testing, Mendoza said the House has been implementing strict health protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in all the offices and buildings within the Batasan Complex.